Kurds seize two towns in Syria’s northeast: watchdog

Updated 10 November 2012
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Kurds seize two towns in Syria’s northeast: watchdog

BEIRUT: Kurdish residents backed by militia have taken control of two towns in northeastern Syria near the border with Turkey after convincing pro-government forces to leave, a watchdog said on Saturday.
The region’s Hasakeh province has seen heavy fighting in recent days between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebels, with 46 combatants killed in two days as the opposition seized the border town of Ras Al-Ain on Friday.
The Kurds took control of the towns of Derbassiye and Tall Tamr late on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
They were backed by militia from the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has links with Turkey’s rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), it said.
The residents and militiamen surrounded government and security offices in both towns and convinced pro-government forces to abandon their posts, said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and residents on the ground.
It said the residents had feared the same kind of violence that saw 9,000 Syrians flee to Turkey in 24 hours in the face of the fighting in Ras Al-Ain.
Derbassiye, northeast of Ras Al-Ain, sits on the border with Turkey and is home to a small border crossing.
Tall Tamr is located at a strategic crossroads. The road from provincial capital Hasakeh to Ras Al-Ain meets the region’s main east-west highway at the town.
Government forces now control just two major cities in the province, Hasakeh itself and the far northeastern border town of Qamishli, the Observatory said.


Iran warns of ‘unpleasant’ response if US drops nuclear deal

Updated 40 min 5 sec ago
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Iran warns of ‘unpleasant’ response if US drops nuclear deal

  • FM says Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal
  • US President Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal

ANKARA, Turkey: Iran warned the United States on Thursday of “unpleasant” consequences if Washington pulls out of a multinational nuclear deal, Iranian state TV reported.
“Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran’s reaction to America’s withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant,” TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on his arrival in New York.
Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.
US President Donald Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran.
Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.